The relationship between booksellers and emerging authors is markedly symbiotic. While booksellers are always looking for new talent to fill their stores’ shelves, authors in the early stages of their careers hope to find someone who will enjoy –– and sell –– their books. To highlight this vital bond, Celebrate Debut Authors With Indies was launched earlier this year. On the heels of this spring’s promotion, independent booksellers have chosen 22 debut titles for the fall installment, which booksellers can sign up for now.
Two committees were formed to choose the titles –– one committee was dedicated to choosing adult fiction and nonfiction titles, and the other was tasked with selecting middle grade and young adult titles.
Numerous publishers participated by submitting up to three titles written by debut authors to be released between August and December. In order to be considered, a title had to be the first published work by the author. From the more than 50 titles received, the bookseller committees chose to feature 22 books.
“Independent booksellers play a vital role in the lives of debut authors,” said Joy Dallanegra-Sanger, senior program officer, BSI, Inc. “We wanted to showcase that. Participation in this promotion is a way for indies to demonstrate how important they are in launching careers.”
The chair of the adult debut authors committee, Betsy Burton of The King’s English Bookshop, said she and the other committee members discussed what lies at the heart of their business: good books and emerging talent. The eight booksellers began by rating the books with a one, two, or three, with one being the best. They then discussed the titles via group e-mail and by phone.
“It really just seemed to pan out the way it does in life,” said Burton. “The books that brought appeal across the board made the list. The ‘ones’ reflected the idiosyncratic tastes of the booksellers involved. We chose what we liked, not for what might sell, knowing that if we feel passion for a book, we will sell it.”
Becky Quiroga Curtis of Miami’s Books & Books, who chaired the middle grade/young adult debut authors committee, said titles for this fall’s promotion were discussed by booksellers in weekly conference calls that focused on the quality of the books and their originality, while keeping in mind what would appeal to children as well as fellow booksellers and parents.
“Lots of books would be nothing without the love and support of indies, and we feel these books should be given that love and support,” Quiroga Curtis said.”When I discover a good book, all I want to do is share it with everyone I talk to. This program is a way to do that. Once all the booksellers fall in love, we can share these books with children all over the country.”
The titles picked by the indie bookseller committees for this fall’s Celebrate Debut Authors With Indies promotion are:
- The Cartographer of No Man’s Land, by P.S. Duffy (Liveright, W.W. Norton)
- The President’s Hat, by Antoine Laurain (Gallic Press, Consortium)
- The Night Guest, by Fiona McFarlane (Farrar Straus Giroux, Macmillan)
- Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent (Little Brown, Hachette)
- The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion (Simon & Schuster)
- Monument Road, by Charlie Quimby (Torrey House Press, Consortium)
- The Last Animal, by Abby Geni (Counterpoint, Publishers Group West)
- The Gravity of Birds, by Tracy Guzeman (Simon & Schuster)
- The Residue Years, by Mitchell Jackson (Bloomsbury)
- The Lion Seeker, by Kenneth Bonert (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
- Knocking On Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death, by Katy Butler (Simon & Schuster)
- The Faithful Scribe, by Shahan Mufti (Other Press)
- Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit, by Octavia Spencer (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
- Rooftoppers, by Katherine Rundell (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
- Sky Jumpers, by Peggy Eddleman (Random House Books for Young Readers)
- The Twistrose Key, by Tone Almhjell (Penguin)
- All Our Yesterdays, by Cristin Terrill (Disney)
- Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy, by Elizabeth Kiem (Soho Teen)
- Gated, by Amy Christine Parker (Random House Books for Young Readers)
- How to Love, by Katie Cotugno (HarperCollins)
- If You Could Be Mine, by Sara Farizan (Algonquin Young Readers)
- Jumped In, by Patrick Flores-Scott (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt BYR)
To qualify for this special promotion, stores must select a minimum of six titles and agree to feature the titles through in-store displays, on their e-commerce sites, and via newsletters and social media.
Electronic files to help with booksellers’ marketing efforts, including shelf-talkers, are available in the Bookseller DIY. In the coming weeks, author videos will be added to the DIY, for booksellers to share with their customers individually or as a playlist.
All ABA member bookstores, including those that did not participate in the spring promotion, can access full details of the fall offer and sign up here. The sign-up deadline is August 1.
ABA bookseller members will be able to meet many of the fall debut authors at an autographing reception in the ABA Indie Bookseller Lounge at BookExpo America on Friday, May 31, at 4:45 p.m. Watch for details in upcoming issues of Bookselling This Week.
Below is a list of the members of the bookseller committees that chose this fall’s debut titles:
Betsy Burton, The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah (Chair)
Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s Books, Sebastopol, California
Aaron Curtis, Books & Books, Coral Gables, Florida
Sherri Gallentine, Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, California
Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Joan Grenier, The Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Massachusetts
Mark LaFramboise, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.
Jenn Northington, WORD, Brooklyn, New York
Becky Quiroga Curtis, Books & Books, Coral Gables, Florida (Chair)
Ellen Scott, The Bookworm of Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska
Christopher Rose, Andover Booktore, Andover, Massachusetts
Kyle Warren, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colorado
Lauren Pew, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Arizona